1. When shopping, make a list before going. ALWAYS shop on a full stomach. Stick to those items on your list. Just as important, however: make sure your list includes a variety of foods that add up to a balanced diet.
2. Avoiding eating directly from a bag or box. Portion out single-serving sizes into a bowl or onto a plate. Put the rest away before you begin to eat. Focus on what’s in front of you.
3. Avoid eating in front of the TV, or when engaging in other activities. Make meals an event. Set the table, turn off the TV, and focus on enjoying your meal.
4. Avoid letting more than 3-4 hours pass between meals. Eat every three to four hours WHETHER YOU HAVE BINGED OR NOT! It is common to want to restrict your intake in response to a binge. However, this often sets you up for dramatic swings in blood sugar (and the associated swings in energy, mood, concentration and anxiety). Restriction is also the #1 way to set yourself up for another binge.
5. Protein, protein, protein! This can’t be stressed enough. Protein balances your blood sugar and aids in tissue repair- essential for anyone recovering from an eating disorder! Protein also helps to promote feelings of satiety, so you’re less likely to feel hungry all the time.
6. If you want to eat ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, etc, by all means, do so. Part of ‘normal’ eating is being able to eat such things. However, to avoid major blood sugar swings, try to eat desserts AFTER eating a balanced meal. That way, you’ll be taking in adequate nutrition during your meal, and you’ll be less hungry, and therefore less likely to binge on the dessert.
7. Make sure that your kitchen is well-stocked with safe foods. If you have plenty of food available that you feel comfortable eating, it can prevent those I’m-super-hungry-and-there’s-no-food trips to the grocery store, which usually end up with the purchasing of binge food.
8. Restrict the amount of money you carry with you. If you have a habit of stopping at fast food places after class, or before work, make this more difficult by leaving your cash at home.
9. When cooking, avoid tasting. For some, picking at food triggers binges. This can also happen for some people when they keep returning to the kitchen for little bites of food all day long. It is preferable to eat mindfully, where you experience a sense of nourishment from eating and can tune in to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues.
10. Avoid unnecessary exposure to food. If you work around food, or enjoy cooking, you may want to reconsider these things. Spending a lot of time around food can be problematic. If it’s not necessary, try to avoid food except during meals, preparation of meals, and shopping.
11. If you choose to keep binge food around, be sure to store it where it is out of sight. Sometimes, just the sight of a binge food can trigger a binge.
12. Sit down and ask yourself why you are tempted to binge. Are you hungry? Bored? Sad? Lonely? Sometimes, it can be helpful to look at a list of emotion words and see if any of them seem to match how you’re currently feeling.
13. Go for a walk, call a friend, turn on the TV, or find some other distracting activity
14. Paint your fingernails, learn to knit, or find some other way to keep your hands busy.
16. Calculate how much money you would be spending on binge food right now. Every time you succeed in avoiding a binge, put that money in a jar. Save up for something special.
17. If you tend to binge out of boredom and you are NOT hungry (keep in mind that many people often think they’re not hungry when they actually ARE), try drinking hot coffee or tea or munching on celery. Chew gum or suck on mints. Very hot or very cold liquids, or strong flavors can be helpful tools for grounding yourself in the moment.
18. Find another way to indulge your senses. Light a fragrant candle, take a bubble bath, go outside and sniff the fresh air, touch something warm and fuzzy, etc. These are all additional forms of grounding techniques.